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The Benefits of Hiring an Intern
Hiring interns can be a benefit to both a company and the intern seeking to gain real-world, practical experience in their field of study. A company that hires an intern will need to have a detailed plan for the work that the interns are expected to perform.
A review of tasks to be accomplished by interns is essential for two reasons: First, the intern’s experience should be gratifying for them and provide the training that will be useful in their careers. Secondly, the company should receive the optimum benefit from the work of the interns. Chaos is the result of poor planning.
Equally as important is the buy-in of the management and employees who might be interacting with the interns. There is little value to be achieved from interns finding their work environment to be less than cooperative. An intern may land a position with another company and express their feelings about a bad internship experience. Assuming their new job is in the same industry, the dissatisfied intern could damage the reputation of company that provided their internship.
At the very least, the intern should be able to leave their assignment with respect for the company and with a good learning experience.
Interns Can Benefit a Company
Very often, interns come with an education that includes new technology in a specific field and with a fresh perspective on the work. Most often, they are eager to learn and to build a good reference and a credible experience for their resume. There is something about the young person with fresh eyes and ears toward business and life that will be refreshing and helpful to the management, the employees, and the company as a whole.
The intern who has acquired specific skills during their educational experience can be an asset. The intern may have IT skills that can be useful or they may have CAD/CAM design training. Some may have financial planning credentials. The objective is to find an intern who has the skills that fit the detailed work plan discussed above.
An enormous benefit for the company is the opportunity to learn about the person who could be a candidate for a permanent position in the company. This is a far less painful way to discover whether a person will be the ideal next new hire. Hiring an employee on a permanent basis can be a serious legal, and financial expense as well as a morale problem if they do not measure up to the requirements of the job. An intern can be observed and tested in many situations which will reveal how they handle stress, employee conflicts, management interactions and problem solving. Many Fortune 500 companies are using this approach to test a potential permanent employee without any risk.
If a company does not have an opening to fill within the next few months, it is good to have knowledge about a person who may be a good candidate later on. Many people coming into a company as an intern will have more education to acquire before they graduate, but it is still appropriate to keep in contact with a great intern. They can be useful in a crisis when they know the job. Or, they may be able to assist when an employee is ill.
Are There Downsides?
Yes! If the company does not properly screen the intern candidate, they may find the person to be a problem in the work environment. The company not only needs to have a detailed work plan that the potential intern will agree with, but it is equally important to recognize the personality type that is required. An intern will not help their career or the company if they have a personality that will not fit into the culture of the company.
A performance-based interview that utilizes behavioral interview questions will help assess the person and their fit within the company and for the specified role. Very often, young people can be very candid without realizing they are. Asking pointed but legal questions is essential.
Pre-employment screening can also be a cost-effective and easy way for companies to ensure that the interns they bring on are right for not only the company itself, but also the position
Interns have always been a part of business, and they will continue to be. Employers should not be hesitant about exploring the benefits of hiring interns as the short-term costs may pay big dividends in the future. Planning is the key.
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